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White House aides look for ideas in Flagstaff

By Laurel Morales

Flagstaff, AZ – Members of the Obama Administration are looking for economic solutions in Flagstaff. Arizona Public Radio's Laurel Morales reports.

Representatives from the White House, the Department of Energy and the Department of Housing and Urban Development visited Southwest Wind Power, the Northern Arizona Center for Emerging Technologies and Northern Arizona University's Applied Research Center. Adolfo Carrion directs the White House Office of Urban Affairs.

CARRION: We need to coordinate our investments that there's a lot of redundancy in wastes. We ought to ensure agencies are working together so that the housing dollar follows the transportation dollar follows the education dollar.
All those investments are coordinated and should be driven by smart plans developed not by the national government but by communities who are solving these problems anyhow.

The group is also visiting much bigger cities namely Philadelphia, Chicago and Seattle on their search for what they called "sustainable community development." Mayor Sara Pressler convinced the group to visit Flagstaff.

PRESSLER: While we may be a small city in America we're doing big things for the global economy. And that's evidenced by the pipelining that's happening between Northern Arizona University, the private sector, and the Northern Arizona Center for Emerging Technologies. So we really are positioned to be a good blue print to serve as a model for what other communities can do across the country.

At the community forum the group took questions from the audience including one question from a red haired seventh grader in pink tennis shoes named Emily Button.

BUTTON: My honors English teacher Miss Quigley has given us an assignment. Our assignment is going to be sent to President Obama about our thoughts on the economy and education. My question is how will you improve Flagstaff's environment and education in the future?

A Department of Energy spokeswoman suggested she and her classmates apply for a grant to build a wind turbine at their school. She also mentioned their efforts to create renewable energy science programs at the college level.

For Arizona Public Radio I'm Laurel Morales in Flagstaff.